Everyone is busy figuring out or enacting their pandemic reopening plan. I thought it would be helpful to post the things other early childhood schools are doing that work.
As I reached out to schools, I found a lot of ideas I hadn't thought of before; like using a hula hoop to help children maintain social distance when walking in line!
Thanks to Riverbend School in Natick, MA for letting us share their video of hula hoop distancing.
Of course, when you develop your own plan, you'll have to consider your licensing/state requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all way to 'pandemify' your school procedures. That's why we need a lot of ideas!
The following ideas are compiled from schools with an early childhood component in the US and France. Please add your own experiences in the comments below (including your location). Together we can compile the best practices that work in different situations (and with different licensing requirements). It takes a village!
This week, I have spoken with and heard from many teachers/school owners who are struggling with how to reopen school for fall (that's just a few weeks away in many states). Trying to sort through federal guidance from places like the CDC and State Education Departments is cumbersome, confusing, and leaves one with more questions than answers.
One big question is the use of face masks. Is it developmentally appropriate to use face masks in early childhood settings? Are face shields for young children and their caregivers a better option?
Note: The photos are from Wish and DuoKids but many other child-size face shield vendors exist. According to the CDC, the face shield should extend from ear to ear and below the chin (CDC, June 28, 2020). You also want to test it yourself to make sure it doesn't create a visual challenge because of its curve.
Parents often ask Montessori teachers why their children are cleaning the school. Children in Montessori early childhood classrooms are learning how to wash dishes, sweep the floor, dust, and even polish silver. Can't the school afford to hire their own cleaning staff?
The answer has nothing to do with keeping the classroom clean. In fact, teachers often have to go back after school and "re-clean" what the children have cleaned. The reason we teach them these "practical life" activities is all about aiding the child's development.
A mom I know on Instagram (big shout out to @montessoriinmotion) posted a video of her daughter that illustrates some of the benefits of practical life activities. It's just over one-minute long and is so rich in things to notice that I asked her permission to write about it here. Watch the video on your own first and then read on (and yes, she is sporting the matching Maitri Learning blue flower apron and mat).